The terrible twin suicide bomb attacks at a peace rally in Ankara, which claimed the lives of at least 100 peace activists, continue to make international headlines. Since then, the ruling AKP government has sought to use the tragedy to further its own narrative.
They have done so with the support of their analysts, political commentators, news outlets and social media trolls and, unsurprisingly, the bulk of the international media. Under this analysis, the attack targeted the unity and stability of the Turkish state – meaning the AKP government. By extension, it has sought to draw parallels between this terrorist attack, which has been attributed to Islamic State (Isis), and recent attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Furthering this bizarre narrative, some went so far as to blame the PKK on the day, arguing that the attack was carried out in collusion with Isis to gain votes for the HDP. This rhetoric, which puts Isis and the Kurdish movement in the same category and makes victims out of the Turkish state and AKP, is not only patently false, but a cynical effort to terrorise, criminalise and marginalise the Kurdish movement and its allies as a whole.
The Labour, Peace and Democracy Meeting that the suicide bombers targeted in Ankara was organised by the Public Workers' Unions (KESK) and the Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DISK) and attended in the main by supporters of the pro-Kurdish and pro-minority rights Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and other leftist, socialist and democratic groups. (There were also progressive elements of the Peoples' Republican Party (CHP) among the victims.)
These groups make up a large proportion of the resistance to Isis and others in Rojava (Northern Syria) and parts of South Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). Supporters and members have crossed over into Rojava and the Kurdistan Region in Iraq and joined the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) and others, such as the International Freedom Brigades and the Joint Freedom Forces, to fight jihadi extremists.
More than 500 such fighters from Turkey have lost their lives in the war to liberate Kobane and stop the march of Isis. Despite this, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to label the Democratic Union Party, PYD, an offshoot of the PKK, a terrorist organisation. This has even provoked anger from the pro-Assad Peoples' Republican Party (CHP), whose leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu argued that the PYD and YPG were "organisations trying to defend their homeland".
CHP MPs have also been instrumental in revealing the military support provided by the Turkish Intelligence Service, MIT, to the jihadist forces fighting in Syria and along the Syria-Turkey border.
The groups that gathered at the Ankara peace meeting were supporters of the Rojava revolution, or, at the very least, opponents of Isis and al-Nusra Front. They helped prevent Syria falling into the hands of jihadis – unlike the AKP and other regional powers, who supported them until at least autumn 2014. Jihadi triumph in Syria would have given the Erdogan-led movement the influence and leverage it dreamed of in realising its Sunni neo-Ottoman pipe dream, and his international supporters free reign to make geo-strategic gains and spread their economic neoliberalism and supposed 'moderate Islam' in the region.
If the Rojava Revolution was the first nail in the coffin for the AKP, the second was HDP's success in the June elections, in which their broad coalition received 13.16% of the vote, preventing the AKP from gaining the majority it sought to change the legislative system into a presidential dictatorship, headed by Erdogan.
An attempt to curtail HDP's perceived threat was made with the bomb attack in Diyarbakir the day before the election, which claimed the lives of five people. A second attack on 20 June, punishment for their ballot success, killed 33 young socialists who had travelled to Suruc to crossover into Kobane and help with the reconstruction of the destroyed city.
In both attacks the perpetrators had been under surveillance by the Turkish Intelligence Services, had been 'radicalised' at the same place and belonged to a group called Dokumacilar (Weavers in English), whom police and security services were well aware of. Both perpetrators had crossed from Turkey and fought in Isis's ranks. The two suicide bombers in Ankara are also now known to have belonged to the same group and fought in Syria.
As HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas said, the Turkish state and AKP will never uncover the true perpetrators, their ties and state involvement in this heinous crime. But what is clear is that the AKP government has, with its policies, invited the chaos in Syria ever closer to home.
Isis, or whoever carried out the attacks in Diyarbakir, Suruc and Ankara, for which no group has claimed responsibility, aren't interested in targeting Turkey or the AKP – or bombs would be going off at meetings of nationalist or Islamist parties who control the state. Rather, they are taking the war to the people preventing them from taking the region back to a totalitarian, medieval and inhumane ideology and system.
What we are seeing is a struggle between reactionary forces of various stripes and democratic ones aligned against them. The terrorism in Ankara was directed at Kurds, Turks, Laz, Circassians, Alevis, Muslims, Christians, feminists, socialists and others who make up the mosaic of Turkey. The real target, though, was the peace and democracy they dream of. Similarly the curfews, military deployment and killing of dozens of civilians by Turkish state forces in Cizre, Nusaybin and other Kurdish towns, and the aerial bombardment of PKK areas following the AKP election defeat, was an assault on the resolution process.
A fitting symbol of this struggle for democracy and peace is Meryem Bulut, a 70-year-old activist and HDP board member, who lost her son in the ranks of the PKK, her grandson in the war against Isis, and her own life in the Ankara massacre. The PKK has declared that it will adhere to its policy of 'inaction' to commemorate the will of those killed for peace and democracy, enabling the upcoming snap election to be held in a suitable atmosphere.